Urrgh… and yet……..

One of the most beautiful peculiar books we have on the shelves at the moment is The Sick Rose or; Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration by Richard Barnett. It is oddly beautiful, utterly fascinating – these are the illustrations used in medical textbooks before colour photography reigned supreme – and a little repugnant.

I worked in one bookshop in the UK where new booksellers were dared to go to the tropical medicine section and open a book at random – none of us went on holidays near the equator for a very long time. This book is similar in its haunting images, and siren-like impulse to just have a look, to satisfy your curiosity – and aside from that, it is rather gorgeously designed.

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